Our African Adventure: Day 15: Okavango Delta Exploration

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Okavango Delta Adventure

We woke up early and excited. At 5:45am two guides drove into our campsite to take us on what turned out to be a private 5 hour long game drive! We expected other travelers to be on the tour but it turned out to be just us!

Our first animal sighting was of a herd of zebras with a few fighting each other. Then we saw different types of antelopes. All was relatively calm first thing in the morning. Our guide knew our goal was to find leopard and he let us in on how he observes nature to try to determine which path to take. We looked through the mud for tracks, we watched antelope herds to see what their body language was like. Were they nervous? If so, watch the direction they look. Were they relaxed? Probably no threat in the area.

Male Kudus have “corkscrew” antlers



We learned a lot about the seasonal flooding in the Okavango Delta and how difficult it is to navigate when the waters come in. We even had to lead another tour operator as she had gotten lost and followed us back to her starting point.

The Leopard Quest Continues

We originally booked the drive for four hours and when we were 3.5 hours in, Devon and I both accepted defeat. We probably weren’t going to find a leopard. Our guides weren’t giving up though. They kept scanning and off in the distance we saw the classic sign of an animal sighting–safari trucks filled with tourists all parked haphazardly around each other! We got there as fast as we could and lucky for us, a young leopard was sleepily hanging off a branch in the tree.


What excitement! Our guides were ecstatic to have found one and we couldn’t have been happier. What a beautiful animal. Afterwards, we thought we’d head back to camp but the guides actually took us out for another hour or more trying to find wild dogs. Unfortunately, we just missed them through another campsite but now more reason to go back one day. We did get to see lots of other things though!

A reedbuck antelope, look at those stunning eyelashes!
I wish I could remember what theses trees are called! Does anyone know?
A massive crocodile

While making our way back towards camp we ended up in the middle of a very large breeding herd of elephants. The guides were a lot braver than us and we got closer than we ever had before.

The baby elephant was so curious about us, he tried to come over and his family surrounded him like you can see here
Little cutie!



We couldn’t get enough of the baby elephants!
Hanging out with mama!

Just when we thought the last of the giant herd had passed, another group would walk out

Some of the herd were caught playing in the mud! Elephants will cover themselves in dust and mud to help protect their skin from the harsh sun

Cruising the Okavango Delta

After breaking for a quick lunch, we met up with one of our guides from earlier. We all walked to the nearby boat launch. Slowly maneuvering through the tall grassy floodplains with elephants grazing through the waters was incredible. Our guide showed us the huge variety of wildlife present from kingfisher birds to water monitor lizards. We cruised around for a few hours and watched the sun setting over the water before heading back to camp. I hope you’re prepared for the massive amount of photos!

A bird on the Okavango Delta grasses
A water monitor. A type of lizard that our guide told us can grow many feet in length
Okavango Delta in all her glory
Another water monitor eyeing us
A kingfisher bird on the Okavango Delta grasses. Devon took this photo, isn’t it incredible?
View from the boat, the winding path through the Okavango Delta



We rounded a corner and this elephant spotted us
Our guide told us the Okavango Delta is also known as the “elephant graveyard”. Elephants from all over the continent will come to the delta as they age to chew on the water softened grasses. Teeth rot is a common cause of death for elephants as they eventually cannot eat.

Curious elephant watching us float by
Does one ever grow tired of looking at these magnificent creatures? I don’t think so.

Pretty flowers throughout the delta
Another type of kingfisher I believe



Other travellers out enjoying the Delta
Magnificent sunset over the Okavango Delta. The guide stopped the boat, and for 20 or so minutes it was just us on the water with the sounds of elephants chomping and splashing through the water and grass.


Back to Camp

When walking back from the boat launch, a young elephant met us by surprise as he was coming out of the waters and I don’t know who was more startled. He trumpeted at us and both Devon and I froze while the guide started hollering and clapping his hands over his head. He picked up a giant ball of elephant poop and lobbed it at the elephants and told us to get behind him. We then backed up slowly towards camp while he kept the elephant from charging at us. What a fright it gave us! Let’s just say we gave him a large tip and a few beer for the road. We were so thankful he was there and also that we got to live to see another day! Haha.

Elephant in our campsite